On Lost Opportunities

May 22, 2014
Since May 12, Robert has been attending a vocational day program, just for an evaluation. As I keep getting feedbacks from his coaches and specialists, I cannot keep but look back at his school years and list all the things which could be done but weren’t to prepare Robert for this next step. Had Robert’s teachers worked every day on a fraction of the skills that are needed for successful transition to a workplace, Robert would not have the difficulties he has now. I am fully aware that in this new place, the people working with Robert have to address many skills which should be practiced during school years. What makes me bitter is that for many years, I asked exactly for:
1.Teaching how to greet peers and how to participate in group conversation even by tactful listening and answering the simplest questions.
2.Listening to group directions given by a person in charge and working in teams.
3.Removing one to one aide and having Robert following actions/behaviors of his peers.
4.Increasing hours of work to address both physical and psychological endurance.
5.Connecting work with pay, no matter how small, but related to the effort.
6.Practicing basic language phrases at work sites to give Robert tools to ask for help, additional explanation,or express his needs.
IEP meeting after IEP meeting I suggested, I asked, I asked again, and again and….I gave up.
Teachers were changing, aides were changing, special education directors were changing. I kept repeating myself as a broken record…
Now, as I am observing Robert’s difficult adjustments to a new place and his supervisors’ resolve to deal with Robert’s problems, I see how much more could be done during long years at schools if so much has been already addressed, if not achieved yet, in those eight days in the vocational day program.

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